One world: Oral... Wait. Two Words: Oral. Surgery. I'm having Oral Surgery and skipping Valentine's Day. Doctor's Orders."
-- Liz Lemon, 30 Rock
Last Valentines Day I got up at 5, so my college roommate could pick me up and take me to St. Joe's to have all four wisdom teeth pried out of my head, without anesthetic. As Mick and several friends pointed out, modern medicine's come a long way. There's no need to MarathonMan-it. But I had a few theories: if I was awake, they would be reluctant to stand on my face with a crowbar because I might object. I also thought the anesthetic might make me sick, and I figured throwing up with stitches in my mouth might be more unpleasant than even usual throwing up. I also hoped they'd let me skip inconveniencing a driver if I skipped anesthetic. What I underestimated was the fact that staying conscious while somebody administers a sound beating to your face with sharp instruments will send you into a little bit of shock.
It always surprises people that I've never been punched in the face before, but now that I have, I'll certainly work harder to avoid it.
This year, I kicked things off two full weeks ahead with a really bad haircut, inspiring the ultimate three little words no woman ever wants to hear, "it'll grow out." And then, one week out, I got dumped. With about seven major committed social engagements on the calendar, necessitating a mad scramble through emergency backup straights and new prospective boyfriends to fill out the social.... and well, let's just leave it at.... social... roster. ("Look how my body goes with this dress, Jack. I don't need to be dealing with amateurs.")
But this ain't my first time at the Rodeo.
In my 1995 Valentine column, I wrote, paraphrasing Janeane Garofalo, that I'd survived the Holiday like "the Native Americans who eagerly accepted the pox-infected blankets from the American Military with an enthusiastic display of charming naivete, "heyyyy, for ME?!" Next thing I know, it's three days later and I wake up thinking "uhhhhhh, I don't feeeeel so goooood."
In 1996, I acknowledged, "all transgressions have their own Rashomon-like quality, but trust me on this one thing: if I were going to fabricate such colorful anecdotes, I'd invent ones where I looked a lot smarter."
In 1997, I wrote about my Geezer-of-the-Month club "lending whole new meaning to Sweatin to the Oldies," (followed closely by the Sweet Young Thang phase).
The other ghosts of Valentine Past, I'll just have to transcribe straight from the book, because my memory was fresher then:
- the year my college boyfriend went out drinking with his buddy Keith, prior to our big "romantic" Valentine dinner -- resulting in some alcohol-induced injuries (to Keith) and an impromptu "romantic" visit to the emergency room -- and crutches which precluded them climbing the stairs to my townhouse. Vomiting was also involved (again, Keith). Love & Phenergan!
- the year my ex-fiance was away on a business trip for Valentine's Day -- and when no mushy phone calls or flowers were forthcoming by the time I left the office at 5, I promptly accepted a date with the gorgeous architect who'd been asking me out for weeks. Sounds harsh, but he was in Texas, not Machu Picchu. They have phones in Dallas. [This was in the 90s when people still used phones.] I am very, very low-maintenance on the daily communication scale -- not a chit-chatter -- but if you go outta town and I don't hear from you for 24 hours? Unless you are hospitalized, I will have lined up your replacement before you hit the ground (or before your plane hits the ground, that is; could go either way).
- the year my "artist" boyfriend sent out Valentines of ANOTHER GIRL posing on the cards. A NAKED GIRL. Cause nothin' says lovin' quite like shootin' the beav to 30 or 40 of our closest friends.
What I said at the time, in the book, was...
"In MY family, special occasions are treated as such. They are not an opportunity for us to renounce our capitalist values and refuse to succumb to the EVIL MONOLITHIC EMPIRE THAT IS HALLMARK."But for now, I got a lotttttttta country ham canapes to make for Valentine Brunch, firmly believing everybody should take every chance they get to surround themselves with people they love, who make them laugh. If they can cook too, you've got no complaints. So, no plans for an impromptu root canal this year. Though I could probably rustle up another kidney stone if things really start to go south.
The point is, when you love someone, you want them to feel special. You don't search for "reasons" not to.
And you are EMPHATICALLY not entitled to scornfully boycott the "manufactured nature of the holidays" unless you can look deep into your heart and know that you've made so many other thoughtful, sweet, and insightful gestures the OTHER 364 days of the year, that this one will simply be no less remarkable."
As for me, I may not be very good at making anybody happy, but I am very, very good at making them sorry."
I still maintain nothin' says lovin' like Dry Sockets (well, except for the aforementioned beaver shots maybe).